Adam Sandler and his Happy Madison Productions company have proven to be so popular with Netflix subscribers that the outfit’s projects still tend to draw in massive numbers when The Sandman himself doesn’t even appear on the screen. The most recent case in point is The Wrong Missy, where regular collaborator David Spade stepped up and took center stage, with the movie managing to rope in 59 million streams in the first four weeks it was available.
Close to 60 million people actively seeking out a title where Spade plays the lead role would have been unthinkable just a few years ago, especially when he’s starred in some terrible films throughout his career including Joe Dirt and Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star, both of which are frequently named among the worst comedies ever made. Not so coincidentally, they also happen to be Happy Madison efforts.
In a new interview, though, the 56 year-old explained why the streaming model has become so important by relating it directly to his own experiences, saying:
“But when you think about it and you go, ‘Okay, The Wrong Missy had 59 million views in the first month’. So if you say Grown Ups made $160 million and tickets are $16, what is that, 10 million people see it? Netflix movies are seeping in so deep to people in one day, instead of doing a movie and a press junket here and then we’d go to Europe and then it goes to HBO and then video. Tommy Boy, Joe Dirt, those movies didn’t make that much, and then they seeped in through TBS or HBO.”
Spade’s logic is sound, because even hypothetically speaking, the sheer size of the audience on Netflix is exponentially larger than the average volume of tickets sold for a theatrical release. Would 59 million paying customers put their hand in their pocket to go and see the latest David Spade vehicle on the big screen? Almost certainly not, but they’re clearly more than happy to simply press play on an app when it’s not going to cost them anything extra.
Happy Madison’s back catalogue may have raked in countless billions at the box office, but the success of smaller, non-Sandler films like The Wrong Missy would make it perfectly clear that the company’s long-term future lies in streaming.